What's up with the secrecy?

Discussion in 'Ask the White Tower' started by Stephen Lightheart, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Stephen Lightheart

    Stephen Lightheart Aes Sedai

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    Dear Amyrlin and Keeper,

    This morning, I decided that since it's been a little over 24 hours, it was about time to check out these new forums to see what the tone is like there before I decide whether I want to opt in. As it turns out, the forums are hidden for those opted out. Which is a decision I do not understand in the least, but that's a whole different discussion.

    This event brought to the foreground of my mind something that has been bothering me for a while now, and since openness seems to be nice, I figure I'd throw it out in the open:

    What's up with the secrecy and the veil of mystery site leadership has cast around itself?

    Here's where I'm coming from. We have a bunch of new leaders. They're kind of... well, in most ways, y'all are not just new to site leadership in general, you're kind of new to the community. Frankly, I have no clue why those that made these decisions have chosen people from outside of the community, but I've seen enough of Seri's thoughts and ideas and I have at least a tiny bit of faith in the board to trust that there must have been a reason to do so.

    That means, however, that trust needs to be created. We don't know you. I don't know you. Really, the only thing I know about Seri is her public AMA (which was a very positive experience, btw!), and all I know about Mieri is that she brutally shut down people voicing genuine concerns during one of our community's regular scheduled dramas some months ago. So I don't know what you'll do, what you're thinking, where you stand, if I can even trust you, if I can come to you with issues.* (I tried once and it didn't go so well, but I hear others have had better experiences, so who knows, really?)

    It appears, unfortunately, that you have adopted a leadership style of secrecy. Where admin meetings have always come with detailed agenda's and notes for us to read and discuss, now the meetings happen unannounced and in secret, and instead of notes, we get a few vague announcements trickled down to us. Public dialogue is not engaged in. Instead, we're encouraged to email, with no idea whatsoever what will be done with those emails. "We hear you, we welcome all opinions," you say. Yet we (well, I, anyway, I'm not sure whether or not I'm the only one who feels this way, but I can't imagine I am) see no evidence of the truth of such statements.

    So, with all of the above in mind, I genuinely ask you, why the secrecy? Not necessarily to tell you you're wrong, I just hope you'll help me understand why you chose to adopt this style of leadership. Is this something you're doing instinctively, or have you put real thought into the decision and formulated good arguments to support why you believe secret leadership is best for our community? If the latter, are you willing to share these arguments? (And if the former, maybe stop and think about it for a bit?)

    Thanks for your time!


    PS. Maybe "secret" isn't the right term for this kind of leadership, as it feels like it comes with some judgment attached to the word, but I tried googling and can't really find a better term to describe this leadership style. It's definitely not one of the common leadership styles, I think? It can feel a bit autocratic, especially with the secret meetings and such, but you seem open enough to feedback that I'm not sure that label really applies. Though I suppose openness to feedback does appear to always come after the decision has already been made, which means that, for me personally, I'm not yet sure whether I can take the request for feedback at face value.

    PPS. I kept adding thoughts to the above postscriptum and now it really should have just been included in the main body of my post, but I'm too lazy for extensive edits, so whatever.


    * And also, I irrationally hate change and distrust new leaders by default, so, like, it's not all on you, but y'all being completely new to the community (I do, btw, want to acknowledge that I am aware that Mieri has been quite active in the offline community in her area for a many years, but that's just kind of an unofficial appendix to the actual community, right?) and not doing much (that I observe, anyway) to remedy that doesn't help me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
  2. Barmacral Tigana

    Barmacral Tigana Gaidin Master of the Watch

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    So, neither of them are new, both are very long standing members of the community and each has a long list of contributions to the site that you can check out on their library pages.

    That misconseption though highlights everything important about your post Stephen. The previous leadership was highly visible on the forums and generally speaking people felt that they knew who the leaders were, even if they didn't know them personally. We've seen a total lack of this here, which lends to the air of secrecy. I'd love to hear more from you both here on the forums.

    That said, I've met both of them and they are both great, and in my short time as motw Mieriana has been super responsive and excellent to work with, and we've been able to get a lot done because of that.
     
  3. Stephen Lightheart

    Stephen Lightheart Aes Sedai

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    Thanks for that additional perspective! And for the correction. I just went to their library pages and you are correct. I guess more accurate would be to state that they have no recent, generally visible involvement in this community.

    I'm also pleased to hear your experiences in working with the Keeper. Hearing such experiences definitely also contributes to increased trust in our leadership.
     
  4. Ilverin Matriam

    Ilverin Matriam Aes Sedai Outreach Activities Coordinator Head of the Gray Ajah Historian Tower Gatekeeper

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    Around Anni and the raising of both the Amyrling and Keeper, both of them had open schedules for meetings with members of the site. I personally scheduled meetings with both of them, for this exact reason - I just wanted to get to know them. And of course they are both delightful to talk to. If I remember correctly, they are also planing on having 1 on 1 at the actualy Anni event in October? (hopefuly, fingers crossed that is still a go) :)

    I do not think there is an intended secrecy at all though, I am sure there is a reason behind all things described in your post.
     
  5. Calen Velervron

    Calen Velervron Rod of Dominion Gaidin Forum Moderator

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    I’ve had a chat with the new keeper. She knew I was upset and took the time to hunt me down and explain things to me and listen. The new Amyrlin has responded to I think three emails now in depth.

    I get the original post. I didn’t know much about them either. I always wasn’t a fan of the current events thing. BUT I am a fan of people listening and right now I feel heard even if they don’t agree. Which is really all I can ask for. Coming from being a former director a while ago I think it really surprised me how much a damned if you do, damned if you don’t the job is. I think they deserve support. Maybe ask for a one on one conversation? I bet you’d feel better after.
     
  6. Vallah al'Dera

    Vallah al'Dera Aes Sedai

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    I am not familiar with the keeper but have met our lovely Mother and she’s a gem, but agreed she should post more.
     
  7. Narysse a'Jahar

    Narysse a'Jahar Aes Sedai

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    What Calen said.

    I've spoken personally to Seri about concerns and she is more than willing to let us be heard and she will also personally respond. But she can't do that if you don't also reach out with your concerns.
     
  8. Ty al'Djinn

    Ty al'Djinn Mod for Life Gaidin Forum Moderator

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    I definitely get where you are coming from, Stephen. I don’t think I had met either our new Keeper or Amyrlin until they were selected, but they both have deep roots here. It’s an interesting dichotomy, because there is experience, and longevity, but also the chance at a blank slate. Personally, I think that is valuable. They aren’t restricted as much by the past, and are instead free to become whatever we need them to be.
     
  9. Alyria Savoinya

    Alyria Savoinya Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    Mieri is basically a Wheel of Time scholar and Seri is basically a tarvalon.net scholar.
     
  10. Kelgan al'Moranwin

    Kelgan al'Moranwin Aes Sedai

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    Whereas I have yet to have a response to anything I've sent them, apart from about the stoles I'm making. The experience is... inconsistent.
     
  11. Sa'areah Britthorn

    Sa'areah Britthorn Aes Sedai Director of Membership

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    I can answer in part, but this meeting was a one off. Future meetings will be as they have been, where we ask for discussion from our members and teams, and publish the agenda beforehand to allow members to have their say.
    This last meeting was intended to be solely a meeting where we discussed our potential goals, and work on how TarValon should be - see the Spirit post prior to the Code of Conduct one.
    I'm not saying it was right or wrong, and it definitely led to unintended consequences, but it was a necessary meeting for those purposes.
    @Serinia Edoras and @Mieriana Souvra can expand on that since they're better with words than I am :p
    Being visible on the boards is a larger goal, and our emails are always open, too.
     
  12. Jenalla Selar

    Jenalla Selar Corruption Sedai Aes Sedai

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    Just popping in to say that I have personally view Serinia participating in multiple real-time Discord chats and events so she is out there mingling with our community on a regular basis in ways other than just here on the forums. I strongly suspect Mieriana is active in many ways as well but since I haven't personally witnessed it I don't want to make blanket statements.

    Leadership change-over is difficult and time consuming for any organization even in the absolute best of times and these are certainly not the best of times. I expect both Seri and Mieri are experiencing high-volumes of RL work in addition to the roles they've take on here. There is also the fact that new leadership also means lots of questions and emails coming in directly to them and while they will always need to prioritize the order in which they respond, I have absolute faith in them both that they will get to each and every one of them. Of my own accord and in no way speaking for them, I ask that you we given them a little time and room to do everything they need to do while they hit their strides in these positions.
     
  13. Laralelle Susandrea

    Laralelle Susandrea Aes Sedai

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    Yup.
     
  14. Alexstrasz Ruskein

    Alexstrasz Ruskein My pronoun is They, for I am Legion Aes Sedai Historian Forum Moderator Mafia Admin

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    She's responded to my messages *shrug*
     
  15. Thaddius al'Guy

    Thaddius al'Guy That Guy Aes Sedai Forum Moderator Mafia Admin

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    Any email I’ve sent in has been responded to within an hour or two.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2020
  16. Zashara Sho'am

    Zashara Sho'am The Dark One Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    Responding to the OP:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jalen te'Kreg

    Jalen te'Kreg Gaidin

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    I've known Serinia, through this site, for 14 or 15 years. Safe to say she's not new. And I can also say that she's got my faith - because she's done a lot to earn it.

    The funny thing is, "Tar Valon administration doing things opaquely" not only predates this administration, it predates most of y'all. It's a long tradition that, frankly, serves to downplay conflict. I did ten rounds with at least three different administrations on the issue. I've been in and out of positions and administrations for nearly 20 years now, so I can say with authority: I've retreated into my feels about this same thing multiple times too. And it's usually an artifact of me no longer being in a position, and resenting information flows worked differently, or other factors that made it about me, rather than anything community-based.

    There are good reasons that the administration holds some things closely - between reducing drama, and accelerating any kind of change so it doesn't take ten years, four surveys, and three committees to execute. I understand where the criticism comes from, but it's off-base.
     
  18. Adina al'Mari

    Adina al'Mari Aes Sedai

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    Admin meetings are always held privately, decisions are made, things change, sometimes with general input, sometimes not. This is not new. Heck, even when I was a Director I didn't always get "invited," and there is way more transparency now than there was for most of the early Tower years.

    And I must say, as much as I miss them being "ours" in Blue, y'all are getting some wonderfully knowledgable and dedicated people in our new Keeper and Mother. Truly, they are awesome human beings and I have every faith in them and their abilities. These are volunteer, unpaid jobs that they do in addition to their RL stuff. I would encourage you all to be a bit more patient and understanding as they make a place for themselves.
     
  19. Alyria Savoinya

    Alyria Savoinya Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    This.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2020
  20. Stephen Lightheart

    Stephen Lightheart Aes Sedai

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    Thanks for sharing all of your experiences, y'all. I've only been with this community for about eight or nine years now, so I missed its best years, as well as Seri's active days. She's new to me, though I recognize that she is well known to those who have been a part of this community for much longer than I have. I very much appreciate hearing your experiences, as it helps me grow more trust in them. Which is exactly why I chose to openly address my concerns and ask my questions.

    Like Kelgan and Lara, I also did not get a response to my email. (Well, that's a lie, actually, I got two lines basically saying I wouldn't get a response.) As I share a group with them, these are the only experiences I'm familiar with. It's good to talk about these things and I look forward to hearing Seri and Mieri's thoughts and motivations.